Title: Eyewitness

Fandom: Final Fantasy VII

Author: Nietzsche's Itch

Characters: Sephiroth, Shelke

Genre: Friendship, Hurt/Comfort

Rating: T

Status: Oneshot, Complete

Disclaimer: I do not own FFVII

Summary: Shelke tells Sephiroth about the mother he never knew. Vincent is Sephiroth's father Not bashing, but not for ardent Lucrecia fans. Part of the Redeeming Features series.

Linked by tragic coincidence and little else, they were the unlikeliest pair possible for the cosmic lottery to have picked to have this dialogue.

And yet, here they were, a former general who had been the greatest victim of an extraterrestrial abominations plot to turn the earth into a graveyard of broken souls and an ex-Tsviet who had been unwillingly endowed with the memories of the formers mother. Brought together by circumstance, in a time and a place neither could have envisioned.

Upon his return to the world of the living, this time without Jenova controlling his body with goals of mass destruction in mind, he had met many people. Some he had been acquainted with before his descent into madness, others were new to him. One of them was Shelke, and although her obvious enhancements both horrified and fascinated him, he kept his questions to himself.

Then Shelke herself had approached him, informing Sephiroth in her blunt, no-nonsense manner that she had been the carrier of Lucrecia Crescent's memories, and that she believed he had a right to know about them. He was unsure about this, and even more uncertain that he wanted to know what had been going through the woman's mind when she participated in his conception for the sake of science. Despite his newly found fathers lingering nostalgia, he could not bring himself to see her as someone who would have been a competent parent, even had she lived.

"What do you wish to know?" Shelke asked him, her steady monotone the same as always. Sephiroth envied her composure, when he was trying to quell the nausea that was welling up. He was not sure he wished to know anything.

"Whatever you wish to tell me," is what he replied, wincing inwardly as Shelke eyed him speculatively. Her appearance often led people to assume she had the observational skills of a child, even those who were aware of her mental age, and she used to this to her advantage. Sephiroth realized jadedly that she would have made an excellent Turk.

He took a sip from his glass of water to buy himself a few moments. "The truth," he added finally, because he despised lies with a passion after they had led him to destroy everything he held dear. He would much rather have the ugly truth and have done with it, than an attractive lie that would come back to haunt him.

Shelke nodded firmly, sharing the tacit sentiment. "I will do my best."

And she did. By the end of her discourse, miraculously unbiased though it was, she had inadvertently ensured that he would never think of Lucrecia Crescent as his mother, only as the woman who gave birth to him. She might not have possessed the capacity for sheer wickedness that Hojo had done, but it was her cowardice that had allowed him to carry out his evil schemes.

She had been too afraid to tell Vincent that she was to blame for Grimoire's death, and had run away when he had learned of it, rather than face up to her sins and bear the brunt of his grief and anger. Not that he would have harmed her, but she could not deal with the possibility that people might think ill of her in any way, and would prevent them from doing so by any means necessary.

Then she had made a haphazard attempt to save him when Hojo had gotten hold of him, much like a child pressing all the buttons on a device without knowing what they would do, she had imprisoned the demon known as Chaos within him, thereby sentencing him to everlasting suffering, and a lifespan with which to enjoy it.

In death, she had doomed him to guilt over his perceived part in her demise. Sephiroth would never presume to pour scorn on those feelings, but after hearing both sides of the story, more or less, he did not feel that it absolved her of any blame in this sordid affair. He himself had been left at Hojo and later Jenova's mercy, ignorant of his true heritage, whilst his fathers spirit wasted away in a crypt.

And Shelke herself had been done a grievous wrong, in bearing the burden of the scientists memories. She had suffered enough in her short life, and adding to her torment by losing her sense of self to a woman that had wasted her own life vexed him.

"Thank you," he said perfunctorily, though they both knew what he was really thanking her for. They each hoped that it would be a kind of closure, for she knew more about Sephiroth's birth than anyone else alive, having borne witness to the deterioration of her psyche prior to his birth. Thanks to Shelke, he knew that she had regretted her choices in the end, but he still could not and would not forgive her.

Shelke understood, and he considered her a kindred spirit, in a different way to Genesis, but unique to them.

"Would you like to go for some lemonade?" he invited, officially letting the curtain fall on the previous scene, and moving on. Shelke did not smile, but merely nodded in assent, as like him it was something that would take practice and an assurance that their tenuous happiness would not disappear if they dared to close their eyes to make genuinely sincere. She fell neatly into step beside him as they left the room, and he slowed slightly to compensate for her shorter strides.

Slowly but surely, they were moving forward.